st. basil

This magnificent cathedral located in Moscow, the capital of Russia, was designed by Barma and Postnik and built for Czar Ivan IV (the Terrible). Construction began in 1554 and ended in 1560. This church demonstrates the Byzantine elements of tent roofs and onion shaped domes on drums. This ancient structure is located in Red Square next to the Kremlin, a large fortress built in the 12th century which contains government buildings, churches, and a museum. St. Basil was built as a memorial to eight saints on whose special name days the Russians won battles over the Tartars—invaders from the East.

The central church building has a tent shape with eight interconnecting small chapels, each dedicated to one of the saints. The architects added four more chapels. High atop the chapels there are towering domes on drums. The domes are covered with onion shaped shells to protect them from snow and ice. These ornamental fluted and twisted domes are hand painted in bright stripes that contrast with the dark red orange of the brick exterior.



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